AbstractGrowth rates have complex sources and may determine adult body size in organisms with indeterminate growth. Thus, the interpretation of interpopulation differences in body size along geographical gradients requires the examination of growth and to distinguish between the proximal and ultimate causes of it. Several studies support a link between growth rates and habitat production via climatic effects. Environmental constraints, such as food abundance, may be correlated with climatic conditions and could, in turn, limit growth rate because of limited energy availability. We performed a reciprocal transplant experiment to disentangle the effects of environmental and genetic factors on body size interpopulational divergence in the lizard Podarcis guadarramae along a 500-m elevation gradient with contrasting environmental conditions. Our results showed that the growing environment determined growth rates of juvenile lizards, independently of the population of origin. Hatchlings experiencing the high-altitude growing environment, which had colder and more humid climatic conditions, grew faster than those growing in the low-altitude environment. However, mother’s site of origin did not affect growth. We conclude that the drivers of growth rate differences in P. guadarramae lizards are probably related to between-sites differences in water and food availability.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society – Oxford University Press
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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